Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | February 24, 2012 - 04:29 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: MWC 12, mozilla, B2G, LG
Mozilla will show off their marketplace for web apps at Mobile World Congress 2012. Mozilla Marketplace will support the upcoming Boot to Gecko (B2G) operating system for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It is rumored that they will announce LG as a partner to develop either a tablet or a phone for developers of the B2G platform.
I ~ <3 Paypal... I guess.
Paypal has been announced as the payment processor for the Mozilla Marketplace. Paypal is not universally adored although we can understand why Mozilla would need to use an existing package. Prices are locked to one of 30 tiers so pricing is not entirely flexible but does run the gamut from 99-cents to $50 as well as of course free.
Hopefully we will get more details about Boot to Gecko or the Mozilla-powered LG phone at MWC in the coming days.
Subject: Mobile | February 24, 2012 - 07:35 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tegra 3, smartphone, quad core, LG, hd, 720p, 4x hd
Last year LG debuted a dual core smarphone at Mobile World Congress, and this year the company is upping the ante to a new Android smartphone powered by a 1.5GHz Tegra 3 quad core processor. Yes, this is still a smartphone, just with a processor that has usually been reserved for tablets like the Transformer Prime.
LG plans to reveal the new Android smartphone at this year's Mobile World Congress 2012 in Spain. The new phone is called the LG Optimus 4X HD and is a 8.9mm thick slab with "prism like" contours and edges. On the outside of the phone, it features a 4.7" True HD IPS display with a resolution of 1280 x 720, a LED flash, and two cameras. On the front is a 1.3 megapixel camera and the rear camera is 8 megapixel BSI (Backside Illumination Sensor) camera.
The inside of the phone houses some fairly impressive hardware as well. The phone is powered by a Tegra 3 quad core processor running at 1.5 GHz, 1 GB of LP DDR2 RAM, and 16 GB of internal storage. Backing all this hardware is a 2,150 mAh battery. LG Mobile CEO Dr. Jong-seok Park stated that:
"Speed in itself isn't what makes LG Optimus 4X HD unique. It's the benefit we're bringing to customers with the HD multimedia experience in a mobile form factor."
The LG 4X HD will be running the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system and will be available in Europe during the second quarter of this year. The company will further be showing the device off at Mobile World Congress 2012 at the LG stand in Hall 8 from February 27 to March 1.
Do you think the world needs a quad core smartphone yet?
Introduction, Design, User Interface
As you may already know from my ultrabook editorial, I’m not entirely sold on them. There are disadvantages to being thin.
And as if to remind me of it, a Lenovo ThinkPad T420 suddenly appeared at my doorstep. Okay, that’s exaggerating a bit - I did know it was coming - but the timing of receiving an old-school laptop couldn't have been better. Not only because I wanted to take a closer look at a laptop purposely designed to not be thin, but also because we haven’t had a ThinkPad T series for review in, well, forever.
This is a return to form for me. I owned several ThinkPads during my late teens, my college days, and the years just after college. My favorite was a T42 with a 14-inch display.
Of course, laptops have come a long way since then. The ThinkPad T420 we received for review is a good example of a mid-range model. Let’s look at the hardware specifications.
According to Lenovo’s website, this configuration is the second pre-configured option available. It can be had for about $1000 after an eCoupon provided by Lenovo. All of the features above are standard, even the 1600x900 display and Nvidia graphics. They are standard only for this model, however - some less powerful versions are available at lower prices.
The only option that came with our review unit was a 9-cell battery, which will set you back $50. We received both the 6-cell and the 9-cell batteries, so we will be testing the laptop’s battery life with both.
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | February 20, 2012 - 01:50 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Rosepoint, ISSCC 2012, ISSCC, Intel
If there is one thing that Intel is good at, it is writing a really big check to go in a new direction right when absolutely needed. Intel has released press information on what should be expected from their presence at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference which is currently in progress until the 23rd. The headliner for Intel at this event is their Rosepoint System on a Chip (SoC) which looks to lower power consumption by rethinking the RF transceiver and including it on the die itself. While the research has been underway for over a decade at this point, pressure from ARM has pushed Intel to, once again, throw money at R&D until their problems go away.
Intel could have easily trolled us all and have named this SoC "Centrino".
Almost ten years ago, AMD had Intel in a very difficult position. Intel fought to keep clock-rates high until AMD changed their numbering scheme to give proper credit to their higher performance-per-clock components. Intel dominated, legally or otherwise, the lower end market with their Celeron line of processors.
AMD responded with series of well-timed attacks against Intel. AMD jabbed Intel in the face and punched them in the gut with the release of the Sempron processor line nearby filing for anti-trust against Intel to allow them to more easily sell their processors in mainstream PCs.
At around this time, Intel decided to entirely pivot their product direction and made plans to take their Netburst architecture behind the shed. AMD has yet to recover from the tidal wave which the Core architectures crashed upon them.
Intel wishes to stop assaulting your battery indicator.
With the surge of ARM processors that have been fundamentally designed for lower power consumption than Intel’s x86-based competition, things look bleak for the expanding mobile market. Leave it to Intel to, once again, simply cut a gigantic check.
Intel is in the process of cutting power wherever possible in their mobile offerings. To remain competitive with ARM, Intel is not above outside-the-box solutions including the integration of more power-hungry components directly into the main processor. Similar to NVIDIA’s recent integration of touchscreen hardware into their Tegra 3 SoC, Intel will push the traditionally very power-hungry Wi-Fi transceivers into the SoC and supposedly eliminate all analog portions of the component in the process.
I am not too knowledgeable about Wi-Fi transceivers so I am not entirely sure how big of a jump Intel has made in their development, but it appears to be very significant. Intel is said to discuss this technology more closely during their talk on Tuesday morning titled, “A 20dBm 2.4GHz Digital Outphasing Transmitter for WLAN Application in 32nm CMOS.”
This paper is about a WiFi-compliant (802.11g/n) transmitter using Intel’s 32nm process and techniques leveraging Intel transistors to achieve record performance (power consumption per transmitted data better than state-of-the art). These techniques are expected to yield even better results when moved to Intel’s 22nm process and beyond.
What we do know is that the Rosepoint SoC will be manufactured at 32nm and is allegedly quite easy to scale down to smaller processes when necessary. Intel has also stated that while only Wi-Fi is currently supported, other frequencies including cellular bands could be developed in the future.
We will need to wait until later to see how this will affect the real world products, but either way -- this certainly is a testament to how much change a dollar can be broken into.
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | February 18, 2012 - 09:06 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, mobile, developer
Clay Breshears over at Intel posted about lazy software optimization over on the Intel Software Blog. His post is a spiritual resurrection of the over seven year’s old article by Herb Sutter, “The Free Lunch is Over: A Fundamental Turn Toward Concurrency in Software.” The content is very similar, but the problem is quite different.
The original 2004 article urged developers to heed the calls for the multi-core choo choo express and not hang around on the single core platform (train or computing) waiting for performance to get better. The current article takes that same mentality and applies it to power efficiency. Rather than waiting for hardware that has appropriate power efficiency for your application, learn techniques to bring your application into your desired power requirements.
"I believe your program is a little... processor heavy."
The meat of the article focuses on the development of mobile applications and the concerns that developers should have with battery conservation. Of course there is something to be said about Intel promoting mobile power efficiency. While developers could definitely increase the efficiency of their code, there is still a whole buffet of potential on the hardware side.
If you are a developer, particularly of mobile or laptop applications, Intel has an education portal for best power efficiency practices on their website. Be sure to check it out and pick up the tab once in a while, okay?
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | February 17, 2012 - 08:58 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: kindle fire, amazon, foxconn, Quanta
Amazon had quite the successful launch of their Kindle Fire tablet PC. The original Kindle Fire is based on the Blackberry Playbook design and manufactured by the same company, Quanta. Despite being out for just three months, we may be just three or four months away from its successor.
Foxconn is expected to do the work as OEM... a Quanta of solace.
The news was first reported by The Commercial Times, a Chinese-language Taiwan publication and put online by their sister publication, China Times (Microsoft Translation). According to the article, the original Kindle Fire may not be dying an early death. As is almost expected from Amazon, the original Kindle Fire will persist as Amazon’s 7-inch Kindle Fire model. The new Kindle Fire is rumored to compliment that product, not replace it.
The new Kindle Fire is expected to be a 10-inch model and, unlike the Blackberry Playbook design which Quanta sold Amazon last year, be more heavily designed by Amazon themselves. It is expected that while Quanta will continue to manufacture the 7-inch Kindle Fire, the 10-inch will be assembled at Hon Hai (Foxconn). Commercial Times does not suggest what other changes Amazon will introduce with the new product.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | February 17, 2012 - 06:33 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: tegra 3, MWC, htc
Mobile World Congress (MWC) is approaching and you should expect our coverage of the event from a hardware perspective. The actual event occurs from February 27th through March 1st although, like most events, we expect that the news coverage will begin a couple of days before that time. Rumors about what will appear at the show are already surfacing and include a few leaks about upcoming HTC releases.
Probably there's a very simple answer to it... still curious though.
(Update: As pointed out in the comments, one of the phones actually IS Tegra 3 powered. I read it as including some other processor... and somehow I only found the LG X3 when looking for Tegra 3 powered phones.)
TechCrunch rounded up details from a few sources about several phones from HTC that are expected at MWC. Ice Cream Sandwich appears to be the common thread amongst each of the leaks. Of particular note, HTC appears to be demonstrating a 10.1” tablet running an NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor. Their phones, on the other hand, do not. (Update: Yeah they do, my mistake.)
Unlike (Update: Actually, like) HTC, LG is expected to reveal a Tegra-3 powered phone, the LG X3, at Mobile World Congress -- so Tegra 3 phones are not nonexistent -- just seemingly a scarce commodity. It would be interesting to know why NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 technology appears, at least from my standpoint, so common on tablets yet so scarce on phones.
Be sure to keep checking back for our coverage of the event and all of your other hardware needs.
Subject: Mobile | February 16, 2012 - 01:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ultraportable, DIY
Check out the latest system build at The Tech Report; a lucky find of a 12" X60 devoid of its hard drive, battery, and power adapter for $87 along with some smart shopping lead to a very powerful ultraportable. What was left inside was the 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 1GB of DDR2-667 RAM and a lot of empty space. Another stick of RAM and a power adapter were located in their hoard of equipment so the only peice that had to be purchased was a hard drive and battery. The battery was easily available for little money and they went all out on the hard drive, picking up a SanDisk Ultra 120GB SSD. Not a bad build for under $300!
"In his latest blog post, TR's David Morgan pieces together a 12" ultraportable notebook with ThinkPad build quality, a 120GB SSD, and much better performance than budget netbooks for less than $300. Here's how he did it ..."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Lenovo ThinkPad T420 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Asus Transformer Prime @ The Inquirer
- Asus Zenbook UX21E-DH52 Review @ TechReviewSource
- MacBook Pro Solid State Drive Upgrade Guide and Performance Testing @ circuitREMIX
- Sony Vaio Z2: Everything is Peripheral @ AnandTech
- Choiix/Cooler Master Mobile Wave Stand Review @ eTeknix
- Razer Blade 17.3-inch LED Gaming Laptop @ Tweaktown
- AC Ryan Veolo @ techPowerUp
- azer Blade Switchblade User Interface Panel @ Tweaktown
- Cooler Master NotePal X3 Silent Laptop Cooling Pad @ Pro-Clockers
- Mobile GPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Le Pan II Android Tablet TC979 Review @ TechwareLabs
- Tablet cover from old hardcover books @ Hack a Day
- Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX Review - 1.8x The Battery @ AnandTech
- Arctic iPhone 4 Soft Case Review @ eTeknix
- CPU Idling Problem In The Apple iPhone 4S? @ TechARP
Introduction, Design, User Interface, Display And Audio Quality
We have a lot of laptop reviews here at PC Perspective. As you’d expect, we generally use the same benchmarks and use the same principles whenever reviewing a laptop.
Yet we’ve never before put all of this down in writing so that our readers could understand exactly what we’re doing. Since this is a new year with new laptops to review, now is a good time introduce new benchmarks and get rid of old ones - which also makes this a good time to share information with our readers.
The first page of any laptop review here at PC Perspective is dominated by some very subjective criteria.
Design comes first, and is also the most subjective. It refers to a laptop’s build quality, general layout and attractiveness. This is where we comment on a laptop’s aesthetics, and it’s also where we comment on a laptop’s perceived durability. We look at details like the display hinges, the chassis, the display lid and overall material quality. An ideal laptop design is attractive to the eye, pleasurable to touch, and feels sturdy in normal use.
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | February 15, 2012 - 02:02 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ultrabook, Pegatron, asustek, apple
Pegatron Technology, an independent spin-off company of Asustek, will apparently stop manufacturing ultrabooks for Asustek as early as the end of March. According to a Digitimes, Pegatron will give up ultrabook orders from Asustek due to pressure from their new partner, Apple. Apple has not been pleased by the competition that ultrabooks bring to their MacBook Air lineup of higher-end ultrathin laptops.
Asus really needs to find their Zen...
Have you ever seen a teenager who fights with their parents and moves out with their boyfriend or girlfriend? You know how that usually ends up with a lot of grief and a giant cellphone bill? With Pegatron currently assembling iPhones for Apple we already got the latter portion of that prophecy. How much grief all parties will incur is still pending.
On the other hand, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes of ZDNet is also rebutting the entire story with claims that it does not make sense. He asserts that Apple cannot push its weight against manufacturing and design companies and risk burning bridges.
On the other other hand, it very much does fit Apple’s recent modus operandi with their treatment of Samsung, HTC, and Google. Apple is also willing to drop large vendors with little hesitation. Apple threatened to drop Intel last summer over power concerns. From my position it is more believable than what the ZDNet article lets on.
What do you believe? Has Apple gone and bucked the Pegasus?